Scouting Report: Will Manchester United Target Mainz Maestro Johannes Geis?

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Scouting Report: Will Manchester United Target Mainz Maestro Johannes Geis?
Michael Probst/Associated Press

Could Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal target Mainz's rising German star Johannes Geis in the summer transfer window?

To cover that hypothetical, here is a scouting report on the 20-year-old German midfielder.



Geis is a remarkably talented footballer who has demonstrated tactical versatility.

He can play in a midfield triumvirate via a 4-3-1-2, as a shuttler in a 4-4-2 diamond, a single pivot in a 4-1-4-1 and as a defensive midfielder in a 4-2-3-1. 



Van Gaal has switched the Netherlands national team formation from a 4-3-3 to a 5-3-2, per Elko Born at The Telegraph, so Geis will be prepared if thrown into a new formation at United having played various roles in different schemes at Mainz.

Geis possesses range in his passing, shows creativity, can make the deep pass and send in an incisive cross. 

Geis was left wide open and delivered a David Beckham-esque cross for Mainz central attacking midfielder Niki Zimling to head home against Freiburg.


Geis reached the ball with momentum and hit a dipping cross which found Mainz left attacking midfielder Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, who scored against Hoffenheim.


One of the factors in Geis' success is him slipping out wide unnoticed, biding time and punishing the opposing team for slack marking.

He escaped the pressure of Freiburg centre-forward Mike Hanke, scanned the field and clipped a ball forward for Mainz central attacking midfielder Koo Ja-Cheol.


Geis has world-class crossing ability. 

Deep in Mainz's defensive half, Geis unlocked Wolfsburg's defence with a lofted through ball to Mainz right attacking midfielder Nicolai Muller. 



Geis is balanced, has a fluid kicking motion, great mechanics and a text book follow-through, which is why the ball zips through the air with such velocity. 

His long-range goal against Augsburg was technically perfect. 


He audaciously attempted to catch Nurnberg goalkeeper Raphael Schafer out with a free-kick from an acute angle, only to be denied by the crossbar. 


Geis is developing into an elite ball winner.

He intercepted five passes against Hertha Berlin, per, and completed seven tackles against Hamburg, per



  Johannes Geis Marouane Fellaini Michael Carrick Tom Cleverley
Tackles Per Game 2.9 2.8 2.1 2.2
Fouls Per Game 1.3 2.1 0.4 0.7
Tackles Per Foul 2.2 1.3 5.1 3
Interceptions Per Game 1.8 1.9 2.8 1.5
Possession Won Back Per Game 4.7 4.7 4.9 3.7


Geis is the anti-Cleverley but tends to over-complicate matters.

Cleverley makes conservative, safe, high-percentage plays, whereas Geis at times forces passes because he is in a make-something-happen frame of mind. 

This is why Geis gave up possession 34.9 percent of the time he attempted a long pass. 

If Geis wants to develop into a world-class midfielder, he needs to increase his passing efficiency.

  Passes Per Game Pass % Long Pass % Assists Key Passes Per Game
Andrea Pirlo 69 88.5 83.5 6 2.3
Borja Valero 59.9 87.8 82.4 9 2.5
Johannes Geis 48.8 75.6 65.1 5 2.1
Luka Modric 58.4 89.7 88.8 6 1.5
Steven Gerrard 65.3 86 73.4 13 2.0

While Geis has an aesthetic kicking style, he was wasteful in front of goal. 

He scored once from 56 shots, so he must improve his finishing.


Bottom Line

Van Gaal is in his element when it comes to identifying talent and taking a prospect to the next level.

Should United buy Geis?

Well, Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp bet on Neven Subotic's upside when signing him from Mainz for €4.5 million in 2008, per Steffen Potter at

Klopp's calculated gamble on his former Mainz player ensured Dortmund won out in the long term as Subotic transitioned into a top centre-back. 

Geis is an all-round midfielder who has tremendous potential. 

United should consider buying him now before his transfer fee inflates, a la Atletico Madrid's Koke.



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